Is Your Relationship With Exercise Healthy?


When Exercise Becomes Unhealthy


Do you run because you WANT to or because you feel like you HAVE to?

Is your exercise healthy or unhealthy?

Exercise has many benefits. It relieves stress, and releases those feel good hormones (endorphins) that help boost mood and can beat depression, and of course engaging in regular exercise is a good way to keep physically healthy. But, what happens when your relationship with exercise goes from moderation to excess, and is there such a thing as too much exercise?

You might think that there’s nothing wrong with over exercising, but over doing it can be just as detrimental to your physical and emotional health as not exercising at all. In fact, it can lead to injuries, amenorrhea (when you stop menstruating), exhaustion and even anxiety and depression. When your relationship with exercise is no longer moderate or healthy, it’s usually excessive, inflexible, obsessive and compulsive.

If you’re not sure whether your relationship with exercise is completely healthy, have a look at these four signs of excessive exercise.

Warning Sign #1: You Can’t Say No

You find that you make yourself exercise even when you’re feeling sick or you’ve been injured. Exercising when you’re physically unwell or have an injury means you are no longer listening to your body when it’s telling you it needs to rest.

Warning Sign #2: You Can’t Be Flexible

Flexibility is key when it comes to exercising with moderation. You’re not flexible with your exercise if you find that you have to go for that run even though it’s pouring with rain outside, or you prefer to cancel plans with friends than miss out on going to the gym.

Warning Sign #3: You Feel Anxious If You Don’t Exercise

An unhealthy relationship with exercise includes feeling very distressed or guilty if you do have a day off from exercise, or feeling worse about yourself and your appearance on days that you don’t exercise.

Warning Sign #4: You Exercise To Compensate

Exercising in an unhealthy way can involve associating exercise with “making up for” or compensating for food. This means becoming obsessive about “balancing out” what you eat for the exercise you do. For instance, you tell yourself that you need to exercise intensively before celebrations with food, or you make yourself exercise more or for longer after bigger meals.

If your relationship with exercise is unhealthy, consider seeking the advice of a clinical psychologist.

Pascale is a clinical psychologist who is passionate about empowering people to create change. She is warm and empathic and is dedicated to providing evidence based psychological care. Pascale has extensive experience working with adults and adolescents with a variety of psychological disorders including depression, panic attacks, social anxiety, generalised anxiety, health anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, specific phobias, anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder.


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